Optimism up as local pro-lifers march on Chicago

 012917Chicago 4 Life

Bishop Donald J. Hying prays over parishioners and visitors gathered at Nativity of Our Savior School in Portage on Jan. 15. The prayer and blessing preceded a bus ride to Chicago for the annual Chicago March for Life, an event that calls attention to the rights of unborn children. (Anthony D. Alonzo photo) 

 

By Anthony D. Alonzo

Northwest Indiana Catholic

 

      PORTAGE – Before two buses filled with local faithful departed for the annual Chicago March for Life, dozens of pro-life advocates heard Bishop Donald J. Hying’s message that respect for human life must be applied to all people from conception until natural death.

      Gathered at Nativity of Our Savior on Jan. 15, marchers from Lake and Porter counties joined Portage parishioners for Mass concelebrated by Bishop Hying, who said he “felt at home” at the church and was encouraged by enthusiasm of those who would soon march in downtown Chicago.

      “We look at the violence of terrorism; we look at the violence in our cities; we look at the move to assisted suicide and even euthanasia, and the Church dares to stand up and say, ‘all those things must cease.’” Bishop Hying said. “It is so clear, both from a religious and scientific perspective, that life begins at conception, that from that very moment, the DNA of every single one of us is already realized, and it begins to explode in this beauty of life.

      Bishop Hying continued: “Not only must laws be changed, but hearts must be transformed.”

       Accompanying the pro-life advocates was of Chris Fickel, who is the wife of pastor Erich Fickel of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chesterton. She said she wished to give a public witness that the life of every unborn child is precious.

      “I’m trying to give a voice to the babies who don’t have a voice; somebody needs to speak for them,” Fickel said.

      Three Merrillville brothers spoke about being called out of their daily routines to join others on the skyscraper-lined streets of Chicago to proclaim a timely message.

      Nicholas Wilson, 14, and his brothers Peter Wilson, 18, and Ryan Wilson, 23, participated in the morning Mass and the send-off from the Nativity school gym that followed. There Bishop Hying prayed over the entire group before their departure. 

      “We want to support life, the unborn children, and show everybody in Chicago that we care,” said Nicholas Wilson, who, along with his brothers, are Ss. Peter and Paul parishioners.

      Peter Wilson said it was great to “get out of fixed routines and give back and stand up for what we believe in.”

      “We’re here to offer ourselves and our time to do God’s will,” Ryan Wilson explained.

      The enthusiastic participation of youthful Catholics and other people of faith are a source of optimism for Indiana Knights of Columbus Pro-Life coordinator Mike Velasco. He believes a “Culture of Life” is taking hold in America, in part, because young people can readily find both faith support and scientific information online showing that abortion takes innocent life.  

      Participants joined a crowd expected to number in the thousands that day to march in wintry conditions in the Loop to a rally at Federal Plaza.